I haven’t been on a good rant in a while. Prepare yourselves.
Randy and I stopped going to an organized denominational church 15 years ago. No need to go into it here, except to say that we Baptists (and I can say we, because I was one before I was born) like to eat our own. It is like unto a badge of honor to some in the church: “I told THEM what was what, and they haven’t darkened our doors since.”
Yep. You told us.
That doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my faith, although it’s probably not the same faith as many who will read this. I have felt the presence of God many times in my life, and in many places. I pray – frequently - and I have seen answered prayer.
I am a free-thinking, liberal-leaning, Jesus believer. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe in the scientific record that supports evolution. I believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth. I believe that it took Him longer than seven 24 hour days to do this, and I believe that creation is still happening. I believe that God is bigger than time. I believe that there are many paths to Heaven, and that when I get there, I’ll see God-believers from all of our earthly faiths. I believe that love is love, and I believe that Love Wins.
I am not so presumptuous to believe that I have all the answers, and I really believe that you don’t have all the answers, either.
I have started following a blogger/speaker/really cool person named Jen Hatmaker. Look her up, if you don’t know her. She’s a hoot and a truth-teller, and if you want to know what it looks like to walk your talk? Look at her.
Today on Facebook, she posted a quick little blurb about being in the Atlanta airport and being delighted at having her traveling outfit complimented by a young, gay man. Now, Jen’s a smart, social media savvy woman, so she knew – she KNEW – what would ensue. And sure enough, here it came: “did you witness to him?...tell him his LIFESTYLE CHOICE is an abomination to God?...hate the sin, love the sinner...”
And the reason for this rant: “If you think that’s okay, I’m disappointed in you. MY God does not approve.”
And here’s what I think about that: If you think YOUR GOD doesn’t approve, you’ve put an unfair limitation on just what God is all about. Just the act of saying “MY” God is the abomination. Honey, the God you want to put in your judgmental little box is bigger than any person, any encounter, any words or actions. Bigger than you, bigger than me. Bigger than Jen Hatmaker and the man she met in the airport. He belongs to us ALL. Not just to one person, or one church. And DEFINITELY not just to your small, Pharisaical self.
When I was in college, Frank Wells, my childhood pastor and the wisest man I’ve ever known besides my father, told me that he believed that the prayer God loves most is a simple, desperate plea: oh, my God. Not in the “OMG” sense, but a prayer of quiet acknowledgement: I can’t do this alone.
Little me. Big God. I believe He most definitely DOES approve.